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General Studies-01

Kathak, qawwali and opera on the same stage

News:

Kathak and tap dancers, the sarod and the organ came together in a gala in central London on Wednesday night, as the Southbank centre hosted over 150 artists from across Britain and India for an event pegged as the highlight of the 2017 India-U.K. Year of Culture.

Beyond news:

  • The push for a year-long celebration of Indian and British culture was agreed upon during Prime Minister Narenda Modi’s visit to Britain in 2015.
  • Since its launch earlier this year, events have been taking place across the country, with many museums and institutions using the opportunity to create India-related events — from Kew Gardens’ annual orchid festival focused around the Indian orchid to the Science Museum’s exhibition examining the place of India in the development of science and technology over the past 5,000 years.

General Studies-02

International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons awarded 2017 Nobel Prize in Peace

Nobel prize 2017

News:

  • The 2017 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), a coalition of non-governmental organisations from over 100 countries around the globe.

Beyond News:

  • The committee emphasised that “the next steps towards attaining a world free of nuclear weapons must involve the nuclear-armed states”.
  • The 2017 Peace Prize called upon nuclear-armed states to initiate negotiations to gradual elimination of the world’s 15,000 nuclear weapons .

What is ICAN?

  • ICAN stands for International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.
  • ICAN has been the leading civil society actor in the effort to achieve a prohibition of nuclear weapons under international law.
  • ICAN had in the past year given the efforts to achieve a world without nuclear weapons a new direction and new vigour, it added.
  • ICAN describes itself as a coalition of grass roots non-government groups in more than 100 nations. It began in Australia and was officially launched in Vienna in 2007.

7 killed as IAF chopper crashes in Arunachal

News:

  • Seven military personnel were killed when a Mi-17 helicopter of the Air Force crashed in Arunachal Pradesh on Friday.

Beyond News:

  • The Russian manufactured Mi-17 V5 chopper was on an air maintenance mission and was also scheduled to drop off kerosene jerry cans at an Army camp in Yangste.
  • The Mi-17 V5 (domestic designation Mi-8 MTV5) is a military transport variant in the Mi-8/17 family of helicopters.
  • It is produced by Kazan Helicopters, a subsidiary of Russian Helicopters. The aircraft has a maximum takeoff weight of 13,000 kg.
  • It can transport either 36 armed soldiers internally or 4,500 kg of load on a sling.

Now, SC Collegium to make judges’ appointments transparent

News:

  • In a historic move to ensure transparency in judicial appointments, the Supreme Court Collegium, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, has resolved to post on the court’s website its recommendations on judicial appointments, transfers and elevations for public consumption.

Beyond News:

  • The information posted online will also “indicate” reasons for the recommendation or rejection of a name for judicial appointment, transfer and elevation to High Courts and the Supreme Court.
  • As a start, the Supreme Court has posted online detailed reasons for its October 3, 2017 recommendations for judicial appointments to the Madras High Court and the Kerala High Court.
  • Details are now available online under the tag “Collegium Resolutions”
  • The Supreme Court has also posted on its website the minutes of the Collegium meeting, which led to its decision to go ahead with transparency.

{Op-Ed}States in Indian diplomacy: when Sharjah ruler visited Kerala

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General Studies-03

Snow leopard photographed in Arunachal

News:

  • Scientists have obtained the first evidence of the elusive snow leopard in Arunachal Pradesh.

Why its important?

Arunachal Pradesh is one of the 22 priority landscapes of the Global Snow Leopard Ecosystem Protection Program and while locals and researchers knew that there were snow leopards in the area, scientists had not been able to get photographs thus far.

Beyond News:

  • The presence of the species outside a protected areas highlights the importance of community support for conservation as well as landscape-scale planning.
  • The camera-trapping, part of a State-wide survey initiated in March 2017 by WWF-India in collaboration with the Arunachal Pradesh Environment and Forest Department, focused on unexplored snow leopard habitats.
  • A small fraction of snow leopard habitats falling in the two protected areas (the Dibang Biosphere Reserve and Namdapha National Park) in the State, scientists tapped into the knowledge of locals — including herders and former hunters — to understand the current distribution of snow leopards and other mammals.
  • Over 80% of the respondents confirmed the presence of snow leopards in their area.

Aadhaar mandatory for PPF, NSC, Kisan Vikas Patra

News:

  • The Union government has made linking Aadhaar mandatory for the Public Provident Fund (PPF), the National Savings Certificates (NSC) and the Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP).

Beyond News:

  • The government had made it mandatory to link Aadhaar to PAN by December 31 and to SIM connections by February 2018.
  • Existing subscribers have time till December 31, 2017 to link their Aadhaar.
  • Every depositor under this scheme who has not given his Aadhaar number at the time of application for such deposit shall submit his Aadhaar number to the Post Office Savings Bank or Accounts Office concerned, on or before the 31st day of December, 2017.
  • About 135 schemes, including the free cooking gas (LPG) to poor women, kerosene and fertilizer subsidy, targeted public distribution system (PDS) and MGNREGA are also reportedly to be linked to the biometric identification.

Pesticides cause farmer deaths, illnesses in Yavatmal

News:

  • A farmer from the Bellora village in the Yavatmal district of Maharashtra, is tied with ropes to a bed in Ward Number 12 of the Vasantrao Naik Government Medical College (VNGMC).

Beyond News:

  • This was one of the 27 farmers currently undergoing treatment at Yavatmal’s VNGMC for infections caused by spraying pesticides on their cotton produce.
  • Over 472 farmers have been admitted to the hospital for the same infection in the last three months.
  •  “improper pesticide use”is considered as reason for this infections.

The rhythm of life: on the Nobel Prize in Medicine

Key aspect: 

  • the Nobel Prize for Physics was awarded to a trio of physicists for their work in the detection of gravitational waves emanating from the recesses of the space-time continuum, the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was won by a triumvirate of chronobiologists for their work in discovering the mechanisms controlling the internal clocks that keep time in all living organisms, including humans.

Men behind the findings:

  • Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young, three Americans born in the 1940s.

Key finding:

  • Working with the humble fruit fly, the three scientists isolated a gene named period that studies had shown disrupted the fly’s circadian clock.
  • It Made pioneering contributions in helping unravel the genetic coding and protein pathways that regulate the circadian rhythm.
  • Dr. Hall and Dr. Rosbash then went on to discover that the protein PER, which acts as a functional communicator for this gene, accumulated at night and then diminished during the day.
  • Then spotted the third gene, doubletime, which through an encoded protein served as the regulator of the frequency of the oscillations.
  • Nobel-winning researchers’ contributions have also led to an improved understanding of the link between peak physical performance in sport and the time of the day.

What is circadian rhythm is all about?

  • Its a rhythm which tells us when it is time to eat and sleep, or wake up even when we have no bedside alarm.
  • It is crucial in human health angle that has spawned a mushrooming body of science centred on understanding the linkages between sleep and normal metabolic activity, and the potentially deleterious effect of sleep deprivation.
  • From “jet lag”, when people travel across different time zones challenging the internal biological clock, to the difficulties people engaged in shift-based jobs have in resetting their sleep-wake cycles, contemporary medical science acknowledges the hazards that lack of adequate sleep can pose.
  • The prospect that the circadian rhythm may well hold the key to future breakthroughs in the modulation and treatment of various diseases is truly tantalising.

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